Print this story | E-mail story


The mansion Rosalie, 100 Orleans St., occupies one of the most interesting historical tracts of land in Natchez.

In 1716, just south of the present mansion, the Frenchman Bienville erected Fort Rosalie on the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River, making Natchez the oldest continuous settlement on the river — two years older than New Orleans.

When Natchez became a part of the new Mississippi Territory in 1798, the American flag was raised over the old fort. However, the fort was used a very short time after that and fell into ruins.

Located at the entrance of D.A. Biglane Street off Canal Street
Open daily: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Tours on the hour
601-445-4555 601-446-5676

The land passed to Col. Henry Willis, an officer in the American Revolution, then to his daughter and son-in-law and, finally, to Peter Little, who built the mansion Rosalie in 1820. Rosalie likely was designed by Little’s brother-in-law, James Griffin. Gardens enhance the beauty of the house, especially a marvelous restored garden on the western side of the house overlooking the Mississippi River and the lowlands of Louisiana.

The beautiful Federal-style mansion was sold to Mr. and Mrs. Andrew L. Wilson in the 1850s, following the deaths of both Little and his wife, Eliza.

During the Civil War, Mrs. Wilson was untiring in her services to the Confederacy and fell under suspicion during the Federal occupation of Natchez. She was arrested and banished to Atlanta.

Rosalie, her home, became headquarters for the Union officers in Natchez and was the house where Ulysses S. Grant stopped on a trip to Natchez.

In 1938, the Mississippi State Society of Daughters of the American Revolution bought Rosalie. Open daily year round, the mansion houses many of its original furnishings.

The lower hall of Rosalie introduces the magnificence of the house. It contains a grandfather clock, several fine paintings and French porcelain vases.

To the left are spacious double drawing rooms with original Belter parlor sets, antique pianos, and white marble mantels with hand-carved roses and seashells. Over each mantel hangs a magnificent mirror.

Connected with these mirrors is a story of war and harrowing experiences. Family tradition is that the mirrors went unscathed through the shelling of Natchez in 1862, only to get buried at the fort site when news spread that Union troops were approaching.

For several years the mirrors remained buried, but when they were resurrected, they were unblemished.

The library contains many old books and John James Audubon prints.

The dining room is opposite the second drawing room. A large gilt-framed oval mirror hangs above the white marble mantel , which was stained by roaring fires maintained by Union soldiers.

Other furnishings in the dining room are a table centering the room where Jefferson Davis once sat; a mahogany sideboard; and a set of Old Paris china.

The upper floor contains large bedrooms. In one is the massive fourposter bed in which some local historians believe Gen. Ulysses S. Grant slept during a visit to Rosalie.

In another bedroom is a rosewood bed of French design, a prie-dieu, or prayer stool, and an interesting bureau. In the upper hall stands a magnificent handmade armoire.

In another bedroom are a matching dresser and washstand and a family Bible.

The children’s room is shown in summer dress with mosquito netting and grass matting.

Many of the children’s dolls and toys are still at Rosalie.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email